OCT 25, 2017 11:03 AM PDT

Recent Hurricane Impacts Disturb Conservation Efforts for Two Elusive Birds

As if some critically-endangered animals’ lives weren’t tough enough, natural disasters like Hurricanes Irma and Maria can rip through natural ecosystems and cause widespread damage to these animals' homes. Likewise, they can have negative consequences on animal populations; particularly those that are most vulnerable to extinction.

Florida grasshopper sparrow (left) and Imperial Amazon (right).

Image Credit: Florida International University

As a new report from Florida International University (FIU) highlights, the Florida grasshopper sparrow and Imperial Amazon are just two examples of animals that are suffering from these kinds of disasters. In fact, the situation is so dire that animal conservationists are taking notice.

There were only an estimated 100 Florida grasshopper sparrows in the wilderness before Hurricane Irma made landfall, but FUI researchers fear that the impact from the storm could have slashed that number significantly.

To help conserve any that may have survived, those researchers are working jointly with government wildlife officials to develop strategic conservation techniques. Unfortunately, there’s no sure-fire way to determine precisely how many of the birds remain without conducting comprehensive surveys.

Regarding the Imperial Amazon, experts estimate there were about 250 individual birds in the wild before Hurricane Maria made landfall. Native to Dominica, they’ve endured habitat loss and the illegal pet trade for many decades, but efforts to restore populations in recent years seemed to be working.

Nevertheless, Hurricane Maria dealt a swift blow to those efforts. Experts now worry about the setbacks inflicted by the storm, implying that there’s a possibility of imminent extinction.

“The flagship species we have fought to save for so many years may now face imminent extinction,” said conservation biologist and Rare Species Conservatory Foundation (RSCF) founder Paul Reillo from Florida International University.

Related: Did the Liberian Greenbul ever actually exist?

Figuring out how many Imperial Amazons remain today will be a tricky task. They were difficult to spot even before the storm because of how elusive they were, but now that their ecosystem went through total decimation, head counts only become more challenging.

The piece stresses just how deleterious natural disasters like Hurricanes Irma and Maria can be to the conservation of critically-endangered animal species. While it’s unfavorable that things happened how they did, experts must act fast if they’re to have any chance of saving these birds from extinction.

Source: Florida International University

About the Author
  • Fascinated by scientific discoveries and media, Anthony found his way here at LabRoots, where he would be able to dabble in the two. Anthony is a technology junkie that has vast experience in computer systems and automobile mechanics, as opposite as those sound.
You May Also Like
OCT 31, 2018
Earth & The Environment
OCT 31, 2018
Haiti has lost over 99% of its forests
A new study has discovered that Haiti is currently undergoing a mass extinction due to the fact that the country has less than 1% of its original primary f...
NOV 01, 2018
Earth & The Environment
NOV 01, 2018
Palau to ban sunscreen
Palau has just announced that by 2020 it will be banning the sale and use of sunscreen and skin care products containing 10 chemicals harmful to marine spe...
NOV 19, 2018
Videos
NOV 19, 2018
The Amazon's worst enemy
Brazil has a new leader, and he could be the Amazon’s biggest enemy yet. President Jair Bolsonaro has pledged to sell off large portions of the rainf...
NOV 25, 2018
Plants & Animals
NOV 25, 2018
Snails Are More Likely to Take Risks When They're Hungry
Snails have particular food preferences that dictate what they will and won’t eat, just like any other animal out there. But as you might come to exp...
DEC 19, 2018
Plants & Animals
DEC 19, 2018
Different Pilot Whale Groups Exhibit Different Call Dialects, Study Finds
Depending on where you’re from, you may speak the same language as someone else, but with a slight accent or dialect that sets your speech apart from...
JAN 07, 2019
Plants & Animals
JAN 07, 2019
Prague Zoo Artificially Inseminates its Asiatic Lioness
When three large cats arrived at Prague Zoo from India in 2015, staff crossed their fingers and hoped the animals could procreate on their own. Unfortunate...
Loading Comments...